Alien Flora

The Incredible Macro Photography Series of Carnivorous Plants

It’s quite amazing how something as normal and natural as a plant can look so out of this world when presented in a certain way. This is the beauty of photography that works with close-ups at a greatly increased scale, like Joni Niemelä’s enthralling new series, Otherworldly Blues.

“The world of macro brings so much new to explore,” enthuses Joni. The beguiling but slightly unsettling series takes carnivorous plants found naturally in the wetlands of Joni’s native Finland as its subject, transforming them into spectacular shows of form and colour.

The palette is suitably alien, as purple and blue hues meld together organically, the whole series has a milky dreamlike quality provided by the colours. Tendrils look like eyes ominously gazing back at the viewer whilst the occasional insects invoke something from a sci-fi horror movie.

We brought Joni back to Earth with some quick-fire questions:

The Plus: Did you have a set message or theme you wanted to convey in other-worldly blues?
Joni Niemelä:
I wanted to have some contrast to my first photo series “Drosera” and created my second series “Otherworldly Blues” with dreamy, otherworldly and eerie feeling. I think these things reflect aptly the true nature of these carnivorous plants.

TP: Was it your intention to make them look so alien?
Well this comes kind of naturally with these plants and of course I wanted to bring this out as best as I could.

TP: What techniques did you employ?
All of these were shot with DSRL. I also used extension tubes with reverse attached 50mm prime lens. This gives nice magnification. In one photo I wanted to have more DOF so I had to take 26 exposures with different focus points and stack these into one photo. Post processing was also a significant and enjoyable part of creating these photos.

TP: Do you think nature still has the ability to surprise us?
Absolutely. Especially when we are talking about these small things in nature.

TP: Are you green-fingered?
Not so much. I mean I’ve have had some vegetables growing in a green house but nothing more than that. I like to explore these things more in nature.